We started the Communications Network blog last fall as a way to report on and give people a chance to comment on discussion topics and sessions at our 2008 Chicago conference. We let anyone at the conference submit a post. Based on the success we had last fall, we decided to keep this blog going as a way to keep people talking about communications practices — everything from “big ideas” about how to excel at being a communicator to the routine things that are worth reminding ourselves about.
I have been among those leading the tirade against continuing to produce foundation annual reports. I believe, as do some others (and I hope a growing number), that the considerable investment in time and money yields a negligible return and is actually an enormous opportunity cost: How else could those precious resources have been spent to achieve greater purpose and have more impact?
First – Be Direct
The inaugural speech was brief, direct and to the point. The President was clear in his call to launch an era of responsibility – talking about why this needs to happen, how it could happen, and providing examples about how we have done it before. Unlike most political speeches, this moment did not call for an anecdote about one American who had done extraordinary things. This speech really was an attempt to reach and engage each and every one of us.
Based on how some of us with the Communications Network constantly rail against offending jargon, you’d think it’s only foundation and nonprofits that are guilty of this sin. Well, you can take some comfort knowing that other abusers of language abound, including organizations – like foundations and nonprofits – that also depend on clear communication so the public knows what they are talking about (and in some cases, more so). According to an article in the New York Times, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) — the agency that oversees the state’s public transportation systems — recently issued a report detailing efforts to reduce its carbon footprint that the Times says “filled with colorful, head-scratching, tongue-twisting gobbledygook.”
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